Ryan Schinman is co-founder of Mayflower Entertainment, a consulting agency that maximizes brands’ impact by connecting them with partners in entertainment and pop culture.
Having sourced talent for many successful Super Bowl ads, Ryan is an authority on what makes a winning ad on game day and beyond.
Here’s his guide on what to watch out for during Super Bowl LII this Sunday:
We’re all familiar with the incredible draw of Super Bowl ads. Name another television event where people won’t use the restroom or grab another plate of nachos during the commercials.
These ads are not just entertaining; they fuel water-cooler conversations for weeks and months on end. It’s not just the biggest game in football; it’s also the biggest game in advertising. If there’s a message to portray, a brand to launch, or buzz to generate, the Super Bowl is the time to do it.
Of course, the airtime comes with an equally impactful price tag. So what works when it comes to Super Bowl ads?
Humor, animals, messages that meaningfully reference what’s going on in the world.
All of these elements click with audiences everywhere.
Music can also be a particularly effective tool because of its ability to evoke our emotions. The right soundtrack — a chart-topper, brand new song, or classic-can enhance a message’s staying power.
And which companies create ad hits year after year?
You can always count on Anheuser-Busch to captivate viewers. Whether they employ a celebrity, music or our collective humanity to get the message across, the conglomerate captures the pulse of the world. As such, after the Super Bowl, people keep talking about Budweiser.
Winning at Super Bowl ads means effectively capitalizing on what’s current, and perhaps more important, what lies ahead.
Take Amazon’s voice-activated assistant, Alexa. Everything is going to voice right now, but Amazon was the first to display the technology in a big way. And what better venue to showcase the future of tech and innovation-and a company’s key role in making it happen-than the Super Bowl?
Controversy also drives Super Bowl ads.
People say all publicity is good publicity. But playing with politics in ads is similar to broaching the subject during dinner: There’s always going to be opposition.
Hot topics like the #metoo movement or kneeling during the national anthem will polarize audiences. They have to be handled really well to create the kind of impact you want.
Sometimes it’s not the message but how it’s delivered that can sink a campaign. Associating a company or product with an unrelated cause — no matter how popular-will feel contrived. What matters to the public, today more than ever, is authenticity.
Consider Pepsi’s ad featuring Kendall Jenner, which attempted to capitalize on a social movement and p—–d many people off in the process, causing Pepsi to pull it within 24 hours. The consumer is too smart to be tricked, especially Millennials, who can sniff out inauthenticity better than anyone.
Millennials require a different set of considerations than previous generations. They want to be engaged, not instructed. Asking questions and cultivating conversations is what it’s all about. This demographic also has incredible power, because of their ability to amplify their voices through the tremendous platform that is social media.
You don’t have to have an Oscar or a Grammy or a hit TV show to have influence anymore. And influencers can be a hell of a lot cheaper and more impactful than paying a celebrity seven figures. You’ll get more bang for your buck with the right handful of influencers than one A-list celebrity or athlete, especially if he’s featured in 20 other ads.
In this day and age, it’s also essential to have extensions: social components, digital components, a call to action. Ads should live on long after the Super Bowl, not fade into the night. How are you going to make it come to life after the nachos are finished, so people don’t forget the $ 5 million you spent a week later?
Whether you’re making a new announcement or driving purchases, or just going for the laugh-and thus making yourself memorable-the Super Bowl provides an opportunity for brands to make a dent in the marketplace and reach consumers.
My best advice to advertisers? Don’t be afraid to take risks-they’re almost guaranteed to get people talking, after all-but make sure they’re calculated.
Michael Levin, a 12-time bestselling author, runs BusinessGhost.com, a provider of ghostwriting and publishing services.
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